We sit on the eve NSD with 12 players enrolled, in an expected signing class of 27-28. Of those, probably only 4-5 are great unknowns, although as many as 9 could surprise tomorrow.
As Josh said last week, just based on the early enrollees, Alabama already has a top-5 class (and JellyfishKiller was dropping some serious ‘crootin’ math in the comments.) With a few breaks going the Tide’s way — namely some combination of DeVonta Smith (WR,) LaBryan Ray (DE/DT,) Henry Ruggs (WR,) and Aubrey Solomon (DE) — Alabama would have not just its 7th straight No. 1 overall recruiting class, but would have the best recruiting class in history — not in school history, but the best in the recorded history of recruiting rankings.
We’re very busy today (and have been the last week, as you’ve seen from all the #content going up,) so today’s JP will largely be take-free. With the dead period in effect, and coaching changes at a standstill, the only news of note is recruiting based (or features.) I’ll hit you up with some links below, and make sure you read CB’s NSD Eve post on the front page. It gets you up to speed and gets your blood pumping.
Roll Tide, and hope for the best.
I love retrospective pieces. I do not love slideshows. This combines both, but is worth clicking through. I think we sometimes forget just how much talent has rolled through Tuscaloosa at every position the past decade.
"We've just done a total disservice to high schools and the other sports," Smith added. "We've created this sense of celebrity and entitlement at an early age.
"I feel sorry for what we've done. I really do ... A lot of times we have to deprogram to some degree. It's not just football, it's all sports. You've got to bring them back to reality."
A very get-off-my-lawn piece here for recruiting haters. I hate to break it to Gene Smith and Dennis Dodd, but recruiting hype has always been part of the sport. The real difference is that there are far more cameras on the process now.
College football two-a-day practices appear to be ending. For safety reasons, the NCAA Sport Science Institute has recommended eliminating the popular two-a-day preseason practices and reducing contact at all practices, including limiting full contact to once a week during the season.
This is such a difficult line for coaches to walk, and even Alabama has pared back its notoriously physical practices. You want to save wear and tear (and collisions) on the body of young men, but, at the same time, you want to make sure the players have endurance and are in game-shape, which also prevents injury. I really don’t know the answer here, but I do think one day of contact is probably not enough. Now, as for eliminating two-a-days? I’m game. Anyone that grew up in the bad ole’ days (pre-1990s) remembers those brutal three-a-days in high school. I don’t recall anyone ever particularly benefiting from even its less cruel cousin, the two-a-day.
Today’s blue-chip quarterback recruit — many of whom compete in the prestigious Elite 11 summer circuit and/or work with private QB tutors — enter college with an optimistically lofty vision.
“Every kid that gets a scholarship to play at a Power 5 school thinks they’re going to play in the NFL one day,” said Brian Stumpf, president of football events for Student Sports, which runs the Elite 11. “The Matt Cassels of the world — the guys who stick with the program and be backups and still get a chance to play in the NFL — are outliers. These guys know they have to get on the field and some games on tape.”
Exactly 50% of all blue-chip QBs have transferred the past five years. Alabama has seen more than its share of QB transfers (and will undoubtedly see more in the next year or two.) Now, very few have been blue chippers, but as we saw with Blake Barnett, high expectations, impatience, and a comparatively slim shot at a professional career push players at this position for reps early and often. And I don’t think that’s ever going to change as long as there can only be one starter out of the 11 positions and as long as expectations are not managed for hot quarterback prospects.
There's been a change of plans in announcement times for Devonta Smith. Instead of revealing his college decision at 9 a.m. CT on National Signing Day, his head coach Zephaniah Powell tells BamaOnLine he will announce at 2 p.m. CT.
Tianna had her children young and hadn’t earned her high school diploma early in Najee's life. Curt never held a steady job and Tianna said he abused drugs and went through numerous addictions. That caused issues and financial strains that resulted in frequent moves. Najee can’t remember staying in one place for more than a year when he was younger as the family bounced from apartments, to homes of family friends, to shelters.
Even in the rare comfortable housing situation, home life provided little safe harbor.
Both Tianna and Jamal said Curt was verbally abusive toward his children and Tianna. Tianna said the abuse went further than vocal barrages. She said Curt's whoopings of the kids would be “bad beatings.” Tianna would then step in, leading to fights between the pair.
It was a rough upbringing for Alabama’s newest (and most profane) freakish running back. Definitely give this a read. Between he, Clark, Erekoshima, Emmons, and Jacobs, I doubt there’s been a more tragic backfield in SEC history.